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J Nerv Ment Dis. 2014 Jul;202(7):513-20. doi: 10.1097/NMD.0000000000000113.

Safety and efficacy of lysergic acid diethylamide-assisted psychotherapy for anxiety associated with life-threatening diseases.

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*Medical Office for Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Solothurn, Switzerland; †Department for Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland; ‡Statistical Consulting, Daniel Island, SC; §Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, Santa Cruz, CA; ∥Department of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA; and ¶Department of Clinical Research, University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland.


A double-blind, randomized, active placebo-controlled pilot study was conducted to examine safety and efficacy of lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD)-assisted psychotherapy in 12 patients with anxiety associated with life-threatening diseases. Treatment included drug-free psychotherapy sessions supplemented by two LSD-assisted psychotherapy sessions 2 to 3 weeks apart. The participants received either 200 μg of LSD (n = 8) or 20 μg of LSD with an open-label crossover to 200 μg of LSD after the initial blinded treatment was unmasked (n = 4). At the 2-month follow-up, positive trends were found via the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI) in reductions in trait anxiety (p = 0.033) with an effect size of 1.1, and state anxiety was significantly reduced (p = 0.021) with an effect size of 1.2, with no acute or chronic adverse effects persisting beyond 1 day after treatment or treatment-related serious adverse events. STAI reductions were sustained for 12 months. These results indicate that when administered safely in a methodologically rigorous medically supervised psychotherapeutic setting, LSD can reduce anxiety, suggesting that larger controlled studies are warranted.


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